Wednesday, 30 March 2016
The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation,
Brad H Young, Hendricksen, 1998
Chapter 11, "The Find" (pp. 199-221), page 211
Brad Young next turns to the power of a picture - what a few words can do to paint a picture in the hearer's mind:
These word-pictures have tremendous power to convey the kingdom's value and the cost of discipleship in concrete motifs. The contrast between a poor man and a rich merchant are probably portrayed here. At least the merchant who travelled in search of pearls is wealthy. The man who accidentally discoveredthe treasure would probably be considered poor because he had to sell everything to buy the land. He was not on the bottom of the economic ladder, because he owned enough assets to raise sufficient funds to buy the property, but he would have been viewed as a lower-income earner who stumbled onto a real bonus without even looking for it.
It is interesting to compare these ideas with Yeshua's comment about rich men: "Truly I say to you, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of G-d" (Matthew 19:23-24). In this parable, at least, both the rich and the less rich man did enter the kingdom. But Young continues:
This type of contrast was an effective technique for involving the audience in the plot of the story. The joy of discovery associated with the type of find that a normal person probably would never experience in real life catches the imagnation of the rich and poor alike.
All Yeshua's hearers can be drawn in by the use of such story-telling devices; simple but powerful!